READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, August 27th…

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FAPRI Released August Baseline Report

the University of Missouri’s Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute’s latest baseline report reflects corn losses stemming from the derecho (Deh-RAY-cho) in Iowa earlier this month. FAPRI released its August baseline report Wednesday. According to the report, corn-planted area in 2020 is projected to be 92.0 million acres, a sharp decline from March intended acres. A modest downward adjustment in Iowa corn yields, given the derecho event, pushes the production estimate 203 million bushels lower than USDA’s estimate to 15.075 billion, a record production volume. Carryout stocks sharply increase, and corn farm prices are expected to fall to $3.24 per bushel. Meanwhile, projected soybean-planted area rose to 83.8 million acres in 2020/21, up sharply from last year. Soybean stocks hold steady in 2020/21 as a strong growth in exports is offset by a rebound in production, in part, on above-trend yields. Farm prices for soybeans hit a recent low of $8.24 for 2020/21.

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Soybean-to-Corn Price Ratio Favors Soybeans

A report from the Department of Agriculture suggests soybeans are increasing in profitability over corn. The soybean-to-corn price ratio is often used as one of several tools in measuring profitability of soybeans and corn. The current ratio of U.S. soybean to corn prices has recently risen, sending a signal to farmers that the relative profitability of soybeans has increased over corn, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. The ratio, which averaged 2.51 over the past 20 years, can tell farmers whether planting, harvesting, and storing one or the other crop might be advantageous. When the USDA June 2020 Acreage report indicated that less corn acreage had been planted than expected in early spring, futures prices for corn in marketing year 2020/21 increased by eight percent. Soybean futures prices increased at the same time. Since late June, expectations of higher corn yields eroded the futures price for corn by 2.4 percent, while the price for soybeans increased by 1.1 percent. This differential in prices led to an increase in the soybean-to-corn price ratio from 2.64 to 2.71, a 2.5 percent increase from late June.

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China Importing Record Pork Volumes

China pork imports hit a record volume in July, more than doubling to 430,000 metric tons from a year earlier. Chinese importers have been bringing in huge volumes of meat this year to fill a large domestic supply shortage after African swine fever killed millions of pigs, according to Reuters. The data does not include the origin of pork, but major suppliers include the United States, Brazil, the European Union and Canada. The record comes as many countries saw a slowdown in processing earlier this year, creating a backlog of market-ready animals, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Further, China has slowed the import process by instituting coronavirus checks of frozen food containers. For the first half of 2020, China’s pork imports reached 2.65 million metric tons, up from just over one million tons a year ago. Meanwhile, China’s July beef imports reached 210,000 metric tons, and first half 2020 shipments were pegged at 1.2 million metric tons.

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House Democrats Investigating Farmers to Families Food Box Program

The House Coronavirus Crisis subcommittee seeks data on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program from the Department of Agriculture. Committee Chair, Representative James Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina, made the request in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Clyburn cited concerns of “questionable contracting practices, a lack of accountability, and a failure to deliver food to many communities that need it most.” Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act in March, which authorized USDA to purchase food directly from producers and distribute it to Americans in need of food assistance. The Democrat says USDA reportedly awarded contracts to companies that “never knew about” a required foodservice industry license and companies that lacked industry networks to source and deliver food. Clyburn alleges that rather than focusing on addressing these problems, the Administration “appears to be seeking political benefits from the program, including by inserting a letter signed by President Trump in food boxes.”

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EPA, USDA Announce Competition to Advance Agricultural Sustainability

The Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency this week launched the Nex Gen Fertilizer Challenge. The initiative is a joint partnership and competition to advance agricultural sustainability in the United States. The competition includes two challenges that seek proposals for new and existing fertilizer technologies to maintain or improve crop yields while reducing the impacts of fertilizers on the environment. The first challenge, the EEFs: Environmental and Agronomic Challenge, aims to identify existing enhanced efficiency fertilizers that meet or exceed certain environmental and agro-economic criteria. The second challenge, the Next Gen Fertilizer Innovations Challenge, aims to generate new concepts for novel technologies that can help address environmental concerns while maintaining or increasing crop yields. Along with EPA and USDA, the competition is coordinated with The Fertilizer Institute, the International Fertilizer Development Center, the National Corn Growers Association, and The Nature Conservancy. Registrants must submit their entries by October 30, 2020, for the EEFs Challenge and by November 30, 2020, for the Next Gen Fertilizer Innovations Challenge.

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Iowa Creates Program to Help Ruel Retailers Recover from COVID-19 Disruptions

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds this week allocated $100 million of CARES Act funding for Iowa Agriculture. The funds include $60 million for the Iowa Livestock Producer Relief Fund. The fund will provide grants of up to $10,000 to eligible producers of pork, beef, chicken, turkeys, dairy, fish or sheep to serve as working capital to stabilize livestock producers. Also included in the funding is the State Biofuel Grant Program, receiving $15.5 million. This fund will provide relief to Iowa ethanol and biodiesel producers based on gallons produced. Meanwhile, the Renewable Fuel Retail Recover Program, worth $7 million, Supports a program that helps expand retail fueling infrastructure for higher blend renewable fuels. Finally, the Iowa Beginning Farmer Debt Relief Fund, worth $6 million, provides eligible beginning farmers with a long-term debt service payment of up to $10,000, to be paid directly to their lender. Iowa Corn Growers Association President Jim Greif says, “every bit of help is needed,” while thanking Reynolds for the support.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.